Monday, December 19, 2011

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

‘Tis the season of holiday parties, and the catch phrase of “bring a dish to share.”  I think this is a great concept, as it allows people to get together more often, without putting the financial burden all on one person.  Although, I will admit that sometimes it can be inconvenient, and store-bought contributions are sometimes necessary.  Hummus seems to go over well.  However, I went to a party on Saturday night, and I was determined to bring something a little more personal.  In my experience, spinach-artichoke dip seems to be a universal crowd-pleaser.  There is a reason that it graces so many American restaurant menus: people love it. 
I had recently wolfed down some spinach-artichoke dip at my cousin’s house, and used the recipe she found as a base.  Honestly, it was perfect as it was.  She found the recipe on All Recipes, and there is a link for its unscathed version below.  But for some inexplicable reason, I cannot make a recipe as it is written.  I feel uncomfortable and jumpy unless I am altering measurements and adding unlisted ingredients.  It’s bizarre and obnoxious, but I am what I am. 

Below, you will find my altered recipe, beefed up with extra spinach (oxymoron!) and some additional cheese.  My recipe has more bulk to it, while the original is creamier.  It’s really simple to make.  The most difficult thing is thawing and draining the spinach.  I defrost it in the microwave, and than aggressively squeeze water out by the fistful (with clean hands).  No one likes soggy dip, and it’s a good way to work out frustrations. 

When the dip came out of the oven, it was so hot, that I couldn’t even taste it.  There may be some partygoers that are still suffering because of this.  Then I became distracted and didn’t eat much of it once it reached a suitable temperature.  But, at about 10 pm, a friend took a big bite, looked at me with utter conviction and said, “This. Is. So. Good.”  Enough said. 

Spinach-Artichoke Dip (adapted from All Recipes)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste (I used about ¼ teaspoon salt and 25ish grinds of pepper)
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¾ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

-       Preheat the oven to 350 (or tell your host to do so; I think anything around this temperature would do).
-       Thoroughly mix together all ingredients except ½ cup cheddar, spinach, and artichokes.
-       Gently mix in spinach and artichokes, and transfer to a small baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese.

-        Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the dip is hot and bubbling. (Unfortunately, I did not take a worthy picture of the finished product, but it was delicious!)  

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